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Day 23 Nanjing

June 25, 2011

June 18, 2011 (Saturday)

Twenty-third day in China, second day in Nanjing: 鸡鸣寺 Jiming Temple, 玄武湖 Xuanwu Lake, city wall, 明故宫 Ming palace ruins, 南京大学 Nanjing University

Met Julia, a CouchSurfer and student from Beijing. We walked through the rain to Jiming Temple, climbed the steps and offered incense to the Buddha on the top level. Ate monk food in a restaurant in the temple: 馒头 mantou, 烧麦 shaomai, and vegetable noodle stoup. Wispy fog floated over the mountain, beyond the city wall that stretched away and separated us from Xuanwu Lake, filled with five islands and dotted with little boats. Walked the old city wall, where the builders’ carved words are still visible in the bricks, toward a distant pagoda and the mountain, past a temple of singing monks where a golden buddha stood guard. Walked the shores of Xuanwu Lake, past a grove of chopstick-straight trees in a light rain and the high-rises of the city in the distance. Subwayed to the Nanjing Museum. Closed, but we saw an ancient staute, a symbol of Nanjing, pillars topped with carvings of men with curly mustaches and fancy headgear riding lions. Over the museum door: 物華天寶. Ate ice cream in a convenience store. Explored the ruins of the Ming palace: carvings and the bases of pillars. The Forbidden Palace in Beijing was based on the palace in Nanjing. A local man had a lot to tell us about history and culture, and told me I looked like an English gentleman. We crossed the lightly curved smooth stone bridges and climbed the stone gate. A worker from Hubei chatted with us. We subwayed back to Gulou, saw the old Nanjing University campus, including a famous building with a Western strucure but Eastern ornaments. Ate four bowls in four flavors of 水饺 boiled dumplings and a bowl of egg & tomato soup in the Nanjing University canteen. Our discussion of language, Chinese & American culture and politics, religion and life began by Jiming temple and ended by the NJU gate at Guangzhou Road.

KM

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